Wings get meaner, tougher -- and older
Posted: Monday March 29, 1999 02:01 PM
| Kostya Kennedy's|
Here's a quick recap of the matchups SI's Kennedy deemed worthy of the
Buffalo at Pittsburgh
Dominik Hasek returned from Germany and Matthew Barnaby played
his first game against his former team. The Dominator allowed only a
Barnaby goal in the first and Buffalo's Michal Grosek provided the
Pittsburgh at Buffalo
The Sabres closed a two-goal lead in the third period and Dixon
Ward scored the game-winner with 2:33 remaining in OT. Jaromir Jagr, whose
nine-game point streak had ended the previous day, scored twice.
York Rangers at Philadelphia
Flyers won their third game in a row on the strength of Valeri Zelepukin's
two second-period goals and the Rangers slipped a bit further from playoff
contention. Eric Lindros was suspended two games for high-sticking Petr
Check back each Thursday when SI's Kennedy previews his Main
Events for CNN/SI.
By Jamie MacDonald, CNN/SI
Well, most of us can wake up each morning with the satisfaction that our
name is not Anders Eriksson and our fate is not to fill the boots
of Chris Chelios in his home town.
As the NHL becomes more and more like baseball in terms of the trading
deadline, the line between win-now and purge-now is redrawn. On Tuesday,
the Red Wings and Blackhawks swapped present for future and now for later
when Bob Murray pulled the trigger on his captain.
Chicago received Eriksson, the blossoming defenseman, and a couple of
first-round draft picks (1999 and 2000) from the Red Wings and the deal
could eventually -- eventually -- be a solid one for the
Blackhawks. Eriksson, 24, is a good defenseman, and may very likely develop
into a great defenseman, he just won't own an alliterative restaurant in
town, or become the reason the Superfans reunite.
But the deal -- along with the rest of deadline day -- was all about
Detroit. Leave it to Hockeytown, USA, to steal the show. Detroit gave up
Eriksson, goaltender Kevin Hodson, the two first-round picks, plus two
second round picks and a third-round pick in other trades, to get Chelios,
left wing Wendel Clark , defenseman Ulf Samuelsson and
goaltender Bill Ranford . As long as it's not you not spending
the money or rooting for the Wings past the millennium, you should warm up
to these moves -- especially for the playoffs (with perhaps the exception
of the Cup-tested but struggling Ranford).
Uwe Krupp is out for the year, at least, and Nicklas
Lidstrom may not return to the NHL next season. The Wings have also
proven all season long that, unlike previous seasons, they need some help
in their own end. Which is where Chelios and Samuelsson (out nearly until
the playoffs with a foot injury) come in. Ulfie, for his faults, is a
menace in front of his goaltender -- the reach of his stick is a dangerous
circumference. Come too close and it's cross-check city. Chelios logs tons
of icetime and will be just as mean. Clark, who has returned to Cy Young
form (29-14, 43 points), enjoys getting his nose into the action too, and
he's having his best season in years.
So even though the Wings were 34-30-6 at the deadline, for at least one
day, Detroit was Hockeytown again. They may not be our pick to go all the
way, but this team is more capable of winning in the playoffs than the team
that began the week.
For a complete breakdown of the NHL merry-go-round take a look at Jim
Kelley's In the Corner column, and read a Q&A
with Sports Illustrated hockey writer Michael Farber.
| Storylines We're Following
| M.I.A. |
A Canadian newspaper
reported Thursday that the FBI and the NHL are looking into a possible link
between the agent for Andrei Zyuzin -- the young Sharks
defenseman whose whereabouts has not been know since he missed a team
flight last Friday -- and the Russian mafia. Vitaly Shevchenko ,
an agent who lost his NHL Players Association certification, was hired by
Zyuzin prior to the 21-year-old's disappearance. Because the NHL prohibits
contact between its teams and uncertified agents, the Sharks have been
unable to speak with Shevchenko about his client.
Dominik Hasek , who had just
returned to the lineup after missing a month with a strained groin, twisted
his back in a collision with New Jersey's Brendan Morrison on
Tuesday, March 23. The Dominator finished the game and practiced Wednesday,
but he did not dress that evening for a game against Detroit and then took
off for Germany to see a consultant about his still-nagging groin. Hasek's
health has got to be Priority 1 in Buffalo. When he misses games, it's not
good news: while he was away the Sabres went 5-4-3. Hovering around .500 is
good enough to make the playoffs these days, but not good enough to stay
The flip side
You've heard the early returns on
Chelios, Clark, Joe Juneau , Benoit Hogue and Theo
Fleury (all veterans traded for younger players), but we'll be
checking the box scores every once and a while to see how Eriksson, Hodson,
Alexei Tezikov (to Washington in the Juneau deal), Sergey
Gusov (to Tampa Bay in the Hogue deal) and Rene Corbet (to
Calgary in the Fleury deal two weeks ago) are doing after being shuffled
off to the more remote regions of the conference standings.
| NHL's Three Stars
| Each week, we'll take a look at a few of
the individuals making a significant impact on team success. |
1. Byron Dafoe, Boston -- Both he and the Bruins are 3-0-1 in
their last four and 9-3-2 in their last 14. Boston is trying to nail down
the No. 8 spot in the East. Dafoe shut the Senators out on March 24 in a
possible first-round playoff matchup.
2. Valeri Bure, Calgary -- Five goals in his last five games --
three have been game-winners in 3-1-1 stretch as the Flames cling to the
final Western Conference playoff spot.
3. Ken Holland, Detroit -- We know the Red Wings GM gave up a
lot and might as well show up fashionably late to the next few entry
drafts, but the Red Wings are much better equipped to defend the Cup than
they were at this time last week.
|| 1 vs. 8 matchup
not the one they want |
||Eight straight starts
with good reason |
||Hottest team in
NHL -- really |
| Stu Barnes
in five with Buffalo |
| Joe Sakic
||Red-hot center also
dropped the gloves |
| Chicago hope
||Arrow says it
all, for a few years |
||Plante will help NHL's
best team |
often as "future considerations" |
| Capitals ||
||Good year to be
bad in D.C. |
||Battle of Alberta is
for playoffs, too |
| If the Season Ended Today ...
... Doug Weight would finish with three goals and 28 points in
33 games -- easily the lowest numbers of his career (even in the 48-game
1994 season he was 7-33-40 -- and tied for eighth on the team in scoring.
When the season does end (and some argue it has for the Oilers), it will
mark the first time in five seasons Weight did not lead the team in